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The Daily Paradox

The Daily Paradox: Rights, Wrongs, Courage, Media

Wherever Alexei Navalny’s spirit is now, if he is conscious of the human stumbling he has physically left, he must be very proud of his wife and mother. There is much courage in the world shown, among many ways, by maimed children in war zones and families made homeless in the rubble of fighting. The grit being exhibited by Alexei’s wife and mother is a model of sense of right and damnation of wrong. These two brave people will be supported by everyone who values the ideas of freedom and leadership.

Governments, big institutions and large corporations all have the same tendencies to lean on people for their own political ends, ignoring the greater threat of social disintegration and war. They forget that ‘for want of a nail the kingdom was lost’. The scandal of the UK Post Office miscarriage of justice is an example. Nine hundred, mostly wrongly convicted, sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses being left without redress or compensation for twenty years is a record of almost incomprehensible disgrace to all those involved.

Since the media published a tv docudrama about it the blame game has been in full swing. The British Government is so embarrassed that it proposes to pardon and compensate the entire list of post people involved, bypassing the courts and therefore exonerating anyone who may be guilty of a crime. It’s the nearest they can come to a decent redress.

Two sources of potential fairness in this pathetic shambles cannot escape criticism.

The former Chairman of the Post Office, Henry Staunton, was discharged by the Government Minister responsible for ‘less than adequate performance’. He now claims that government officials asked him to delay compensation to the wrongly convicted post people. He has some moderately credible evidence to support this. We may congratulate him for his courage in publicly declaring this alleged pressure but I must at the same time ask him why he didn’t resist it. He was, after all, in charge of the Post Office. A Minister’s or Civil Servant’s word in his ear should not have been enough to make him ignore his duty.

The Post Office scandal was finally brought to light by a television station seeing a first class docudrama in the story. Good for them. But it took twenty years to do this and it was only one of the many media available to unearth this tawdry affair. The media have responsibilities beyond making money. In the last fifty years they seem to have somewhat bypassed their media duties in favour of increasing their incomes. It’s no good clamouring to be free if freedom means nothing more than ratcheting up bad feelings to promote dissent.

These examples of courage and cowardice lead us to one conclusion. Leadership has been corrupted and the only way back is by personal, individual guts. There are plenty of good people on the planet. They are mostly modest, reasonable and well natured. Heaven forbid that they should lose those virtues, they are what we need.

Perhaps the good people need to assert themselves a little more.

The two Mrs Navalnys and the post people would like that, I think.

Good morning

John Bittleston

If you would like to share a view about leadership we’d be more than happy to hear it at [email protected]. ‘Won’t make any difference?’ ‘For want of a nail..’

24 February 2024